A One Man Show
Written and Performed by
This inventive, funny and eye-opening piece of theater is nothing less than a quest to discover the meaning of human identity. What does it mean to be human? Who am I? Christopher Vened explores the essential predicament of being alive without the sure knowledge of who we are and how we were created.
Human Identity Part I
1: Secret of Creation: Why Gods keep us in darkness?
2: Mirror: Why humans look in the mirror but animals don’t?
3: Clothes and Nakedness: Why humans wear clothes? Why women wear make up but men don’t?
4: The Differences Between Men and Women and Gays
5: The Drivers License, An Everyman’s Identity Card: What if I threw my Drivers License away and became anonymous?
6: Finger Prints: Being Unique
7: A Dictionary: Two Meanings of Identity: What does it mean to be identical with myself? And what does it mean to be identical with someone or something else?
8: Human Gestures
9: Identification with Animals and Plants
10: Half-A God and Half-An Animal
Human Identity Part II
I: Homo Erectus, An Upright Man
II: Homo Habilis, An Able Man
III: Homo Sapience, A Wise Man
IV: Homo Prometheus, A Creative Man
In “Human Identity,” Vened combines words and physical action in a unique theatrical formula that finds new means of expression and insight. What cannot be explained in words is performed in mime. He talks and mimes at the same time. He is a talking mime or an actor-mime.
The show runs 90 minutes; there is an intermission.
A note from the performer:
In 2000, I published an acting book: In Character: An Actor’s Workbook for Character Development. It is a concise manual that describes the methods, principles, directions, exercises, and examples needed for mastery of the actor’s craft and the art of portraying character. While writing that book, I thought it would be good to make a one-man show about human characters based on the ideas I explored in it. But I put this idea on the back burner only to come back to it more then twelve years later.
In the beginning, I just wanted to make some funny routines about various character dispositions and aspects, to show their range. But then, while rereading In Character, I became inspired by Part I entitled, “Identity,” to take the piece in quite a different direction. I was prompted to do so by the statement in my book, “The purpose of acting is to reveal human identity.” That’s right! But why do we do it? It is because we do not know who we are, at least, not enough, for sure, not entirely. It is obvious. But the absurdity of being alive without fully knowing who I am and how I was created struck me with new intensity. It occurred to me that this is the essential human predicament that fucks us up!
Suddenly, I was inspired to go on the quest to figure out the meaning of human identity. Who am I? What does it mean to be human?
Christopher Vened is a writer and a performer. He was born in Poland, where he lived about the first half of his life. In the 70s and early 80s, Vened was an actor/mime in the Wroclaw Pantomime Theater of Henryk Tomaszewski and played leading roles in shows that dazzled the world. In 1977, he was awarded the Brown Spire for the best performance for the dual role of Guest-Dionysus in the production of Arriving Tomorrow. In the end of 1981 he defected to the West while on tour with the company in West Germany because marital law was declared in Poland. Since then he has lived in the West–first in West Berlin for two and a half years until finally setting in the United States. He likes to think of himself as a citizen of the world and an international artist. Whether here or there, he has always been involved in the work of theater: directing, teaching, and performing. And here is the through line: theater is a country without borders.
He was the founder and director of Impulse-Movement Theatre in West Berlin and Drama Studio in Seattle. In 1985, he was awarded a Drama-Logue Award for best choreography for his work in the production of A Voyage to Arcturus at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. He has choreographed and directed shows and taught acting in various studios, universities, and theaters in the United States and Europe. He is the author of the acting book In Character: An Actor’s Workbook for Character Development. Part I of this book “Identity” inspired him to create the one-man show “Human Identity.”
Critic’s Pick of the Week, January 13, Arts in LA
“Vened’s skill as a mime enables him to intricately reveal the complex physical organization that makes us human and how it transcends all other life forms on Earth,” praised reviewer
Julio Martinez, Arts in LA. (January 20014)
“Christopher Vened is a one man dynamo in his brilliant show, called “Human Identity.”
Bonnie Priever, LA Musical Theater Examiner (February 2014)
“A true master of his own body, a genius of physical expression and articulation, Christopher Vened, in this one man masterpiece, displays exquisite human agility.”
Bonnie Priever, LA Musical Theater Examiner (February 2014)
“You will find, for instance, that mime is not annoying when the mime speaks, and Vened is accomplished and graceful.”
Jack Mauro, Stagebuddy.com, New York (September 2014)
“His work in Human Identity most comes alive when he illustrates his routine with fluid, intricate movement. The piece itself is a philosophical, intellectual and emotional rumination upon what makes humans so very human as opposed, to say, apes.”
Amy Lee Pearsall, NY THEATER NOW (September 2014)
“Artful mime rests in the magic of essences, of spirit and heart emerging through motion, of grand images translated into minute, therefore deeply impactful, gestures. Mr. Vened does not pretend, he becomes, and for a sparkling moment IS.”
Victoria Parker, actor and drama teacher.
“I found it full of insight and humor about the human condition. Mr. Vened’s use of mime was selective, but used to great effect, often to illustrate some comedic point. I’ve been recommending the show to friends.”
“I saw Human Identity in Portland. It was so good the first time, I went back to see it again the very next day. If I could take time away from work, I would fly down to LA to see this piece again. It is a piece that you can see at least two to three times. Mr. Vened’s skill in mime, his intellectual acumen, and his beautiful vulnerability during the show deeply touched me. The piece is also provocative. Go see it!”